March 28, 2012

ROME (AP) -- Baseball and softball officials aim to join forces for a bid for the 2020 Olympics.

The International Baseball Federation and the International Softball Federation are putting the final touches on a joint bid for Olympic reinstatement.

IBAF president Riccardo Fraccari said Wednesday the two federations need to form a new, combined body.

"We're working out the final details," IBAF president Riccardo Fraccari said. "The presidency will rotate year to year."

He plans to draw up the final details with ISF president Don Porter at a meeting of national Olympic committees in Moscow on April 11.

They'll make a presentation to the IOC on April 19 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

However, Fraccari has still not secured a guarantee that major league stars would be freed up to play in the Olympics.

"Stopping the season is impossible. But that's not what I'm asking for," Fraccari said. "If we could just get one or two players per team, that could be enough."

Another option Fraccari floated was suspending the All-Star Game every four years and having a break later in the season for the Olympics instead.

"We would like to see baseball back in the Olympics - what the path for that is, I think we should let these guys finish their negotiations before we make any formal comment," Clive Russell of MLB International told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "There are a lot of pieces of the puzzle that need to come into place to have that discussion."

The IOC will vote on one new sport for the 2020 Olympic program in September 2013. Baseball and softball are competing with karate, roller sports, sports climbing, squash, wakeboard and wushu.

The IOC voted in 2005 to remove baseball and softball after the 2008 Beijing Games. As separate bids, the two sports failed to return for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

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